Riots in the streets and pigs on the wing   Leave a comment

17 March 2016 — Bellingham, WA.

So, Donald Trump is threatening riots if he doesn’t get the Republican nomination.

It will happen. I’m sure. I’ve been saying it all along. People in Jerusalem last month asked me what I think is going to happen as a result of the primaries, and invariably I would say, “Riots.” Well, that’s not entirely true. Sometimes I’d say, “Chaos.” But that was the general theme of it.

I firmly believe the powers that be — the conservative hard-core insiders, the ones who refuse to hold hearings for Supreme Court Justice — will also refuse to award Donald Trump the nomination of the Grand Old Party. Just picture a Trump-Kardashian ticket next to the (R) on your ballot. Even Reince Priebus is tweeting  #NeverTrump in fake Twitter profiles. This year (R) might stand for Reality TV, and there’s going to be plenty of it on CNN.

This morning another major development happened, and it seems that indeed pigs can fly, as Lindsey Graham announced he’s throwing an AIPAC fundraiser for Ted Cruz, someone he’s admitted on CNN and elsewhere he doesn’t really like. Calling Majority Leader Mitch McConnell a liar on the Senate floor doesn’t get you many points. Graham was careful to say that he’s not endorsing Cruz, but that Cruz was the only mainline Republican who has the chance to keep Trump off the ballot.

Ohio Governor John Kasich, the hometown boy, the convention and riots being in Cleveland, is a very dark horse to sneak in under the wire, and only if he wins Pennsylvania or Wisconsin and gets a healthy injection of charisma. If you ask me, Kasich, who’s known to fly off the handle, couldn’t attract the media with free sandwiches and an open bar. He began going negative against Trump today. Watch out – the mud’s flying.

It’s funny. The last time there were real riots at a convention, it was 1968, in Chicago, at the Democratic convention. Now, all the action’s going to be in Cleveland, with the Trump supporters. They have the capacity to go full zoohouse. I don’t want to be within a hundred miles of Cleveland during the Republican Convention. The best seat’s going to be in front of a TV anyway.

But what about Philadelphia?

On the Philadelphia side, the prune-faced screaming banshee has an insurmountable lead over Bernie Sanders, who authored most of her ideas, especially in her last month’s speeches. Saying this is sure to get me branded a blatant sexist, and so be it.

I’ve met Hillary Clinton, in 1991, 1992, and 1996, when I worked for her husband’s campaign in Colorado. She was cordial in the way upper class types condescend to normal everyday people, except when I had to use the bathroom after she just hopped out of the shower (visual: Hillary in a bathrobe and towel) at a Clinton friend’s house during motorcade downtime.

Excuse me if I’m biased, but I’m a child of the sixties: Bernie Sanders holds the emotional torch for the Democrats. His followers haven’t been as loud as the Trump people who want to revolt against the Republican elite. And it remains to be seen if Sanders’ supporters are driven enough to get tough. I can’t imagine a Texas death match between Trump’s people and Sanders’.

But the Sanders people are adamant in their support. My social media feed is full of Bernie stuff from Bernie people, non-stop Bernie stuff, always upbeat. You would think the superdelegates, the Party faithful — I know a lot of them — will turn and feel the Bern like their contemporaries. Will the hard-line Bernie people be as hard-line during and after the Convention?

I’ve come across a lot of older and younger “hippies” who would never think of holding a physical revolution. But I’m sure they’re out there. You wonder if there would actually be an Independent or Third Party Revolution. I’m sure that would cause riots in the leadership offices of both parties.

But that’s what it may come down to for both parties come this summer, so it may be time to start thinking about what might happen in a four-way race between Clinton, Sanders, Trump, and whomever the Republican establishment anoints. Or at least tumbling the idea around in our minds.

For too long, the American public have been complaining about too little choice in Presidential candidates. Maybe this year, we’ll have four to pick from.








The Trip of a Lifetime   Leave a comment

So, my wife and I just returned from our first-ever trip to Israel to attend our older son’s wedding. I’ve shaken off the jet lag, I’m just getting over the airplane flu, but I’m still getting up at two or three in the morning, which is OK because it facilitates texting with overseas friends.

I had a really wonderful time, went through a transcendental kind of change, and had what you might call a couple of personal epiphanies. I’m keeping my experiences separate from my politics, hence the Israel Trip page on the nav bar up top, whereupon you’ll find short paragraphs, vignettes, and observations, with a lighthearted tint.

Please check back on that page from time to time and read an apolitical kind of view of a place that after only a very short time felt like home, and may one day become home, depending on how things go in the next few years.

I’d like to give a special thanks to all the people who enabled this trip of a lifetime on the GoFundMe page we put up, without whom we would never have been able to attend our own son’s wedding. G-D bless all of them, and there were many.




April 20, 2015
Bellingham, WA.

Esteemed Senators, Congressmen, and in-state officials:

I am writing you on behalf of Medical Marijuana Patients in Washington state, including myself.

In my 60 years, I’ve given many of those years to my Party, and I’ve worked with and for many outstanding legislators, their policy people, and their political advisors.

I’m writing you about the backlash that will occur amongst Washington state medical marijuana patients, many of whom are Veterans or Disabled Veterans, if Governor Jay Inslee fails to VETO 5052, a bill on his desk right now that would greatly injure — some say destroy — the rights of medical marijuana patients in this state.

This would occur right in the middle of 2016, just when everyone in the country is focused in on the Presidential campaign and of course the Congressional elections.

I phoned each of your Washington, D.C., offices on Friday afternoon and informed your people of Jay Inslee’s intention to sign 5052 and how it would backlash against the Democrats in this state.

I know of no other instance in my life where a chief executive with a (D) after his name would hurt patients to this degree. The voters are no doubt going to remember. This is a serious threat to the Party. And Inslee’s got really bad timing.

The Republicans in Olympia, to their credit, had compassion and empathy, and tried to kill this bill, but the supposedly forward-thinking Democrats in the legislature pushed it through.

They were incentivized by growers and lobbyists for 502 store owners. There’s a lot of green circulating in The Evergreen State. Weed, grass, you name it.

Washington MMJ patients have been safely covered by the Compassionate Care Act of 1998, which morphed into the current RCW 69.51a et al. It is as advertised; compassionate.

We oppose this 5052 bill because the State Liquor Board are not to be trusted with patients’ HIPAA-protected medical records and treatments.

These include psychiatric records in some cases. These are PRIVATE; not for appointed uncredentialed desk jockeys who know nothing about health care or medicine. The State LIQUOR Board are untrained and unqualified. Patients’ medical records are our classified information.

Have they not seen the Colorado model? Three million dollars extra each month to the schools, tax REBATE checks TO the people. Booming economy. Why not try it? Deaf ears.

Medical marijuana is NOT recreational marijuana. I use it when I NEED IT. This morning I didn’t. Yesterday I did. Tonight I will, because I feel the pain increasing.

I use a high CBD strain for pain. If I used oxycodone or hydrocodone, both opioids, I wouldn’t be able to express myself clearly. And I would only need the toilet once a week. Unhealthy.

Medical marijuana should be taxed, we all agree. We’re cool with that. But be FAIR.

It should NOT be taxed like recreational marijuana, which is what the State seems to want. The taxes on that are outrageous! Has anyone seen the Colorado model? They treat people like people! This state’s Democratic leadership has been asleep at the wheel!

IF 5052 is not vetoed, it will, among other things:

Force patients to get prescriptions from their primacy care physician. No doctor will write a prescription as long as the DEA has marijuana unfairly classified as having no known medical use. The DEA would immediately cancel their licenses! So that’s a deal-killer right there. But wait! There’s more.

Force medical marijuana patients to go to 502 retail stores and mingle with recreational users, and be forced to pay up to TRIPLE what we’re paying now.

Force patients to register with the State. Not acceptable. This is not Russia, China, or Myanmar! I don’t believe I would agree to that. I don’t have to register my concealed carry weapon, so I don’t think I have to register my pain medication. Would I have to register my insulin too?

Allow any state law enforcement agent to knock on a patient’s door and must be permitted to come in and inspect their growing space. Doesn’t this sound unconstitutional to you?

So, I’m afraid it’s come to this: If Inslee fails to VETO 5052, he is endangering all seven Democratic seats in the House. Medical marijuana as we know it will disappear in the middle of 2016. Right squack in the middle of Convention Season!

Voters will remember when their ballots arrive what the Democrats in Olympia did, and they’re not going to connect those little arrows next to your names or anyone’s name with a [D] next to it.

I don’t want to live in a RepubliCon dominated country. I don’t want to live in a theocracy.

It is within your power to help. Please call Jay Inslee and tell him to turn on his shredder most riki-tik and throw that garbage 5052 bill into it before he causes a disaster bigger than the one in 2014, which was the worst since Truman was president.

Our medical marijuana patients will be forced back to the black market or to some other state where the governor doesn’t drink Fukushima spring water. The Party does not need this kind of name recognition in a presidential election year.

On behalf of my fellow medical marijuana patients and voters in The Evergreen State, many of whom are Veterans seeking relief from severe PTSD, and other physically Disabled Veterans seeking relief from severe pain and don’t want to get hooked on opioids, I thank you very much for your kind attention.

I look forward to your comments and hopefully your swift action.

Warren S. Levine
Humble patient

If I Sentenced Oscar Pistorius   12 comments

I would, as an American, half a world away from all the action and media frenzy, if any, be almost a sequestered juror. Some of you who have read my prior coverage of the trial may doubt that, but I challenge any of you to cite any examples of my reporting something that had not yet been testified to in court. As I said: sequestered. Almost.

Not only can’t I discern the accents of the South African newscasters, the so-called best of the best — and there are numerous accents, not just one — but the technical acumen exhibited by SABC, as an alum who’d made it to the NFL might say, “THE South African Broadcast Network (goofy smile),” can only be equated to the middle-school TV production done by my younger son’s seventh-grade class in 2001.

As compared to most of the developed world’s media, whatever story they try to spin on one side or another (if any) is completely overshadowed by the comical presentation of its production teams. I have been, for all intents and purposes, a sequestered reporter. I have watched reporters gargle, towel off, blot their underarms, button their blouses, fix their hair (or dearth thereof), and scratch their balls.

As to sentencing. In matters of domestic violence, as a husband who has never lifted a hand to his wife of nearly 35 years, I tend to err on the harsh side. Therefore, I would not blink, and I would give him 25 years, the maximum allowable sentence for the crime of which he was convicted. (Note to Judge: He is no longer the accused; he’s a convict. YOU convicted him!) I would make this concurrent with the gun charges, because an out-of-shape 60-year-old Oscar Pistorius would be of limited danger to women or anyone else, and he would have very limited earning power at that age as well. He will have paid for his crimes.

The witness the other day who argued that prison was an improper place for Oscar Pistorius because “they have condoms there” was still silently cracking people up Friday morning when Roux first opened his pie-hole to argue Mitigation. So the jolly old weasel defense attorney played the “Oscar the Handicapped Victim” card to the max, and tried to soften up Judge Masipa by using his whiny, condescending offerings of paybacks and deterrents to society that would pay not even lip service to the real victims in this case, whining about how the killer’s debt is to society. Society, society, society. Then he brought up Ubuntu, and quoted a story in it of a goat. He equated Reeva Steenkamp with a fucking GOAT. The man is insane. Get this goddamned turkey away from the microphone. If Roux ever slept with a female of his own species, he’d know the difference between Reeva Steenkamp and a fucking goat!

I think the final undeserved slap in the face to the Steenkamps was the claim that Pistorius be given leniency was because although there were no shower rails at either the convict’s home or in the prison’s showers, his home shower came with a stool or a bench so he could wank freely between the two, and in addition be able to balance on his arse while using one or both hands, hence keeping his arms in shape to continue to work out all of his upper and lower appendages and limbs, or what remain of them. And that’s being nice to him.

On the dark side, Pistorius, with his snake-like eyes, knew VERY well who and what part he was shooting at. He’d accused her of messing around on him, even though she’d had very few (and longer-term) relationships compared to him, she’d reportedly been heard or commented to a friend that he had recently raged at her, “go ahead, fuck them all if you want,” or words to that effect, which is why he was shooting at that height. Do you think he was trying to hit a fucking pygmy in the head? If he were shooting at an adult’s chest, he’d be shooting at about 48″ off the ground. His first shot, the one that hit her in the hip, was 34″ from the floor. All shots were about the same height, within three inches. Isn’t anyone curious about his target? His first one was pretty close – the one that hit her in the hip. Just a couple of inches off target.

I was honestly very surprised to hear Gerry Nel request a minimum sentence of ten years. Even if he wants to squeeze Masipa for 15. This was a heinous crime, and the spolled, pampered little shit who committed it deserves some serious time. I figured a guy nicknamed “The Pit Bull” would have looked to rip off a bigger bite than that.

I’ve got friends who did more time than that in tougher prisons for simple possession of a joint.

What the hell kind of deterrent is ten years supposed to be? The suggested punishment doesn’t seem to fit the crimes. Let’s remember, we’re talking about multiple felonies. He’s now got three strikes on him. In many states, he’d get mandatory life without parole under the “Three Strikes You’re Out Law.” Three felony convictions, you’re out of society, and in for life.

 Your comments are requested. Please note this was published IN ADVANCE OF the Tuesday morning Oct. 21 session.

Only a special kind of mother could possibly know this   2 comments

A couple of my most beloved friends lost their baby last week. It was neither totally unexpected nor do I believe was it totally unwelcome, given the other possible outcomes of this tragically ill-fated pregnancy that began on an otherwise magical night in the most #becausefutbol moment of both of their young lives. (If you haven’t seen the ‘maternity ward’ commercial that ran on ESPN during the World Cup, find it on YouTube, then apply it to the NFL.)

This piece is about the mother. The word – mother – doesn’t seem to carry the weight to justify its mass, sitting there on the page, or the monitor, whichever. Less so on the monitor, because the black type means a small array of switches have been set to zero; their circuits have been broken; their value nil.

I would imagine that in a way my friend must somehow feel the same, although God Himself knows she’s got no reason to. She’d spent most of the spring preparing her body; her heart and her nature, her soul if you will, and her mind have always been prepared. She’s been mother material for longer, I’m sure, than the decade or so that I’ve known her. And, to be perfectly honest, we’re so diametrically opposite in just about every way, if we were really close friends, I’m convinced she would hate me. I just love her because she’s always had this aura or something. Maybe she gives off a maternal pheromone; I have no idea.

Other than family, I’ve only met one other woman in my lifetime, really, whom I would describe in those terms. While the one central to this event has been fortunate – she’s always been put on a pedestal by her husband, and rightfully so; the other, not so much — sadly, she was abused by virtually every male who ever got within arm’s reach of her. You wouldn’t know either one’s background by the way they love their children, the way they hold their heads up when they’re with them — their blessings, their treasured gifts. Interestingly, they both have three. I love them both. I just hurt for them in different and indescribable ways.

Now, I need to interject that through the winter, we’d found out my younger son’s wife was pregnant with their first child, a boy, whose gender we found out at an ultrasound the morning after the Super Bowl in February. So I was pretty excited that I was going to be a grandfather for the first time in July, which I did, B”H, on July 7th.

Back to the end of April, when my friend central to this story told me she was pregnant, I had somehow sensed (divined?!) it for no apparent reason, and I was wild with excitement, because I’ve got a sense for that (and earthquakes – don’t ask), and I posted this on my Facebook page:

I’ve been thinking [friend – not named] is pregnant for two full weeks now, and didn’t want to impose by asking her or her husband, who’s also a friend. The last time I had this premonition was this morning, oddly enough in the shower. I wasn’t thinking of her (she’s like a sister, people, come on), but I got that feeling again, and she just confirmed that today, without my having to ask. The oddest thing is, I’ve done that with one of her previous kids. She’s the only person I’ve ever been able to detect twice, but about the 10th-12th person I’ve been able to make the call on just out of thin air.

By the time May came around, I’d expected to hear or see, in the form of a cute Facebook post, what my friends’ baby’s gender was going to be, and I enquired and was told they believed it was a girl, but there were problems and the outlook didn’t look good either way, pending some more tests. I tried to swallow my heart back down. Prayers and requests for same go out immediately, literally around the globe. Older son in Jerusalem to Western Wall, holy sites in Hebron, other friends to mosques and churches….

More painful days of even more painful tests told them their baby had a “not uncommon” (1 in 6000) genetic disorder, and would likely not survive until birth, but a small percentage may live as long as 10-12 years, require 24/7 care and have the mental capacity of an infant. This could have a permanent effect on their family, their three kids would be scarred for life, and they could end up among the least fortunate, God forbid. The kind of stuff that runs through your mind when there’s absolutely not one blessed thing you can do to make any kind of constructive difference….

I was dying to give her the one thing I could, but I couldn’t! It was only a suggestion. The suggestion every single woman I spoke to about this said they would give their daughter, and what they would do themselves! But being a progressive — being in favor of a woman’s right to choose what to do with her own body, all I could do was shut my mouth and respect her decision to follow her own beliefs. She’s a smart woman, has graduate degrees; she’s a scientist. She knows her options. But if she follows her beliefs as religiously as she does, with so much conviction, then I have to follow my belief, which is a woman’s right to choose, as religiously as she does hers. What an incredibly difficult real-life test for a confirmed, dyed-in-the-wool, blue-state progressive liberal Democrat from Brooklyn named Levine. I hope I never have to take one like it again.

That aside, I tried to put myself in her place when her husband told me, knowing her child had died inside her, going into the hospital and being induced (as my son’s wife had been just days before), going through I don’t know how much painful sweating, agaonizing labor and having a natural birth (as I witnessed my wife do twice) and knowing that after everything she and her body and soul put into it, there was nothing more than a lifeless body that never breathed the air, a child she loved and now had to bury without ever hearing him cry, I don’t think I could survive something like that. I would be a total and complete wreck. Just give me the needle and don’t take it out. Where on earth does one find the strength?

This is the kind of stuff that a special kind of mother’s character is built on. The heroine doesn’t need a name, she doesn’t need a philosophy or a specific belief or anything, she doesn’t need a background. This is about a woman’s – a mother’s – superhuman strength of mind, body, and character. This goes so deep into the makeup of her character, it is an eye-opening, mind-expanding, cathartic thing for me, as a male, to really sufficiently identify with in any kind of way. All I can do is try to imagine what it must feel like.

Except I can’t.


Oscar Pistorius sells house where he killed girlfriend   Leave a comment

Pistorius Sells Crime Scene


Oscar Pistorius has sold the house in which he fatally shot girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp last year.

One of Pistorius’ laywers said in March that the runner was selling the house to pay for legal costs associated with the trial. The trial began March 3, was first slated to run until March 20, but will now run into at least July. It is currently on break as Pistorius undergoes a mental evalution and will resume June 30.

“Due to the delay in finalizing the trial, the decision to urgently dispose of his single biggest asset, has had to be made,” lawyer Brian Webber said in a March 20 statement.

Pistorius had access to the house, valued at over $450,000 at last year’s bail hearing, for over a year since the shooting but had not returned as of March 20, leaving it sealed. Terms of the sale were not disclosed by Webber on Friday, but…

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Posted 05/30/2014 by warrenlevine in Uncategorized

I’d Rather be Pissed Off Than Pistorius   6 comments

When (you) ain’t got nothing, you got nothing to lose
You’re invisible now, you got no secrets to conceal…
How does it feel to be on your own, with no direction home,
Like a complete unknown, like a rolling stone?

— Bob Dylan (1965)


Oscar Pistorius’ defense may have blown their client away as the former runner’s murder trial continued Monday. Dr. Meryl Vorster, a forensic psychiatrist who joined the team ten days ago, took the stand and presented her psychiatric evaluation of the defendant. Oscar’s head may now be found gathering no moss on a highway near Pretoria.

She expected the court to believe Oscar was traumatically assaulted when he had his legs amputated at 11 months and could not talk. At the time he had parents and other relatives to console him and soothe him; he was, after all, a baby, and even though his mother was an alcoholic (ask anyone who’s ever been to an AA meeting what an “intermittent drunk” is), she did retain the basic ability to hold and cuddle her child and do basic mom stuff. Except for the boozing it up part.

The mother had an anxiety disorder, and she instilled that into her children, keeping a loaded gun underneath her pillow. The kids grew up seeing the outside world as threatening. Even more so because mommy dearest called the police about imaginary intruders every time one of the kids closed a sock drawer.

It was stressed to young Oscar that he should never allow himself to be seen as disabled and apparently was teased occasionally when kids were aware he was different. (Was anyone out there NOT teased at one time or another?) The need to conceal his disability caused Oscar more anxiety.

He was 15 when his mother died, and he stayed alternately with one family member or another or one friend or another for short periods of time, but never landed anywhere, and never had another primary adult attachment figure, according to Dr. Vorster’s report.

Oscar grew up with few strong emotional ties, and broke off relations with his father when he was 21, although he maintains relations with his siblings. When at home in Pretoria, he felt quite alone, and would frequently invite guests to stay over, but they didn’t always take him up on it. He had kind of an odd demeanor to him, and if the witness list is any indication, they needed their space.

Hence, he had few long-term relationships and relies on social media to remain in touch with his friends and siblings. Vorster further stressed that as he gained notoriety, he would have to prepare more and more for his appearances so he wouldn’t embarrass himself, of which he was dreadfully fearful.  He needed to be in a controlled environment. He was caught in a loop.

So, today, given her diagnosis of the defendant with a psychological disorder / mental illness, and the fact that it was brought forth and entered into evidence by Oscar’s own team and accepted by the court, Dr. Vorster becomes star witness for the State in its application to give Oscar Pistorius, murderer, killer, public threat, a 30-day ticket to The PsycHotel, all expenses paid. (You do have insurance, don’t you?*) #ThingsTheyWouldSayOnlyInAmerica

This has turned into a very interesting game of chess. Roux better be on his game today. No one up there on the ceiling or beyond is going to help him today either.





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